3 ways video can help drive conversions from your online store’s stuck-at-home customers

Julian Byrne - Friday, January 29, 2021


As we all know, 2020 was a year of significant change, and one of those changes was consumers’ relationship with retail. With lockdown restrictions continuing to be widespread across the UK, shoppers are still being widely denied what may have previously been their favoured retail experience of brick-and-mortar shopping.

In turn, though, our lives have come to be lived much more ‘online’, as evidenced by such trends as a major rise in virtual meetings, online education and – of course – ecommerce.

So, if you’re looking to generate the best sales and revenues from your online store in the year ahead, you can’t simply keep on doing the things that might have been serving you well enough in 2019 or early 2020, before the pandemic made itself felt.

Instead, you need to be constantly looking for new ways to evolve your e-tail store to boost engagement and conversions from all of those (presently largely home-based!) customers. Here are a few ways in which you might do exactly that, while tapping into the power of images or video.

Put a greater emphasis on user-generated content

You might be accustomed to thinking of user-generated content, or UGC, as customer reviews, and that’s about it. And yes, those remain crucial in this ‘new’ COVID era. But with this also being the era of social media and selfies, UGC can also take other forms, such as photos and videos contributed by real customers, showing them using a given product of yours.

You may therefore look to create galleries of these customers’ images or videos, or incorporate them into your blog posts. All the while, the message to your prospective shoppers should be clear: “real people, just like you, use our products”.

Incorporate inspirational and ‘how to’ videos into your product and landing pages

Many of your target customers may be spending a lot more time in their homes at the moment, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be happy to spend that time sifting through other parts of your site, just to find more information about particular items. After all, there will be other sites out there ready to provide them with a better experience.

So, embracing video on your product and landing pages could be a really powerful step to take with your ecommerce site this year. That could take the form of short and informative videos showing ways of using your products, or – building on the UGC point above – you could invite customers to submit such video content themselves.

Embed live video chat into your site

Yes, we said “video” chat – not just referring to the kind of text chatbot you might have made a feature of your site already.

In truth, video-based customer service may be best suited to online stores with a more ‘niche’ or luxury emphasis. After all, some of you reading this might be wondering how you’ll be able to ensure staff are actually available to provide customer service via video.

Nonetheless, if live video chat is a workable option for your ecommerce store, it might make a lot of sense indeed. It would allow you to personalise the shopping experience, making it feel somewhat closer to the experience the customer might expect to have from staff in a brick-and-mortar store.

Is your business ready to investigate these or other ideas for bringing your ecommerce presence firmly into the 2020s this year? If so, don’t wait any longer to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team about our website design or other digital marketing services.

How can your ecommerce store boost its customer retention rate in 2021?

Julian Byrne - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The retail industry took a hit at the start of the pandemic – and, in a fashion, continues to do so as many companies are forced to keep their brick-and-mortar stores temporarily shut in line with lockdown restrictions. In sharp contrast, however, the COVID-19 era presents the world of ecommerce with a huge opportunity for growth.

Still, a big question is whether your online store can ensure what may have been its pandemic-sparked expansion lasts well into this New Year.

Regardless of how long the pandemic itself lingers in 2021, here are several strategies you could pursue to help keep your company’s ecommerce growth going.

Use the RFM model

The recency, frequency and monetary value (RFM) model enables you to classify customers on account of their shopping behaviour. One way to put it into practice is by assigning each of your customers a score from 1 to 5 on the measures of how recently they have bought, how often and the average monetary value of their orders.

So, a customer who scores 555 should probably be in line for VIP treatment, while one with a 255 score may be tempted back to your online shop by an automated email or text message.

Use customer onboarding to build relationships

Customer onboarding can work with both new customers and those whose transactional habits at your online store have waned. In either instance, though, your objective would be to foster a relationship that encourages the customer to buy repeatedly from you in the longer term.

So, while onboarding for a new customer might involve them registering an account with your online store and subscribing to its content, trying to win back a former customer could entail messaging them privately to thank them for their last order and offering them a discount code redeemable on a future order.

Regularly publish fresh content to keep shoppers... content

How many times have you seen, in your email inbox, a message focused on a specific product? The mere sight of this kind of message has probably made you think “not spam again”. That’s why your marketing campaigns can’t be limited to product-specific pieces like these.

While it would not always be of the best use to your customers, content that touches on pain points in their everyday lives would come across as much less self-publicising. This content can comprise articles and videos, for which we can help you to select the right keywords.

Keyword research and guest blogging are among the services we include as standard with our search engine marketing (SEM) packages here at Piranha Designs. We can help you to choose between our Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum packages if you directly reach out to us in the UK or Gibraltar.

The lessons learned from the UK’s first ‘COVID-19 Christmas’

Julian Byrne - Friday, January 08, 2021

Yes, we know what you’re thinking; that reference to “first” is not an encouraging one. Nonetheless, no matter how long the coronavirus crisis lasts, the fact remains that we’ve learned a lot about the state of retail – online and offline, in the UK and beyond – over the last nine months.

Those lessons, in turn, can have implications for how you choose to tweak your brand’s e-tail presence during the year to come.

Some figures in relation to customer habits over the last few months are, of course, still filtering through. But on the basis of what we do already know, let’s look at some of the insights and conclusions we can draw from the ‘COVID Christmas’ just finished.

Ecommerce is (predictably) thriving

While it has to be the least revelatory development of the UK’s coronavirus-affected festive season, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how drastically the pandemic has helped to accelerate an existing drift towards online shopping.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales had already long been on the up. The first nationwide lockdown, however, vaulted this percentage from 19.1% in February to 32.9% in May. For November – the month coinciding with the autumn lockdown in England – a new peak of 36% was achieved.

December saw the return of the tiered system of restrictions and the widespread reopening of non-essential retail on our high streets; it’s no wonder, then, that the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s monthly retail sales balance increased to -3 for that month.

The outlook for January, however, was a much bleaker -33. With much of England having been placed under tougher tier 4 rules for the New Year – bringing about the closure once more of non-essential retail – the ecommerce surge looks likely to continue well into 2021. That could mean even more opportunities for brands that have been optimising their online sales arms since March.

Not all e-tailers and product categories will have automatically done well

Unfortunately, some small businesses that attempted to maximise their online sales during the Christmas season are likely to have learned this particular lesson the hard way.

The fact is that even with the above apparent bonanza in ecommerce opportunities, COVID-19 didn’t just force us online – it also altered our buying habits, including in relation to Christmas gifts.

EBay data cited by CNBC, for example, indicated that gym equipment, board games and jigsaw puzzles saw strong sales in the UK in the run-up to the November lockdown. It therefore seems logical to expect such ‘indoorsy’ items to have been well-represented among popular gifts for Christmas 2020.

So, which product categories may have struggled during the festive period just gone, even for online sellers? Jonathan Pritchard, retail analyst at Peel Hunt, has suggested that “clothing faces the biggest problems because people are not going to Christmas parties”.

Keeping hold of customers is no less important than acquiring them

This particular insight isn’t likely to be a new one to a lot of the more experienced ecommerce brands. For those, however, who may have largely depended on a brick-and-mortar retail presence, only to be forced to largely switch their focus to online selling from March onwards, it’s a key mantra to take into 2021.


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